A decline in morale at the workplace can seem like a black cloud over the environment. Given that most employees typically spend 40-50 hours per week in the office, companies should aim to keep workers happy and feeling appreciated.

There are several ways to introduce a burst of fun into the workplace – and you don’t have to blow a quarter of your budget to do so. Simple gestures can renew employees’ confidence in their employers and remind them of why they were hired in the first place.

Recognize achievement

When morale is low, workers will have fewer personal conversations, be less eager to cooperate and show an overall poor attitude.

One way to show employees that their efforts are recognized is to personally congratulate them. When a team is able to cut costs or gain a new client, sometimes a pat on the back from the boss may the best way to say “thank you.” Publicly recognizing an employee or group’s achievement can also be rewarding, so considering hosting a special event – an awards night or employee appreciation night – to add a bit of fanfare. Some money spent on drinks and a few pizzas will certainly be appreciated.

Get personal

Simple gestures, such as remembering someone’s birthday, can go a long way in the workplace. By keeping employees’ birthdays noted on a calendar, companies can earn brownie points with their workers through thoughtfulness. Even adults like cake on their birthday.

Acknowledging other personal milestones, such as marriage or a child’s birth, shows employees that they are part of an office “family.” Listen carefully to conversations around the office – the best way to get this sort of information is to talk to your employees about what’s going on in their lives. Of course, you never want to pry too much for personal information, but a simple, “How was your weekend?” can reveal a lot of information.

Charitable initiatives

Although employees work together every day to keep a business running, sometimes working towards a different goal can realign priorities. Staff who are given paid time by their employers for charitable work can gain the opportunity to bond with their coworkers, contribute to the community, and feel good about themselves. Departments can also take on volunteer initiatives as a group, motivating other members of a company to get involved.

Introduce time for office fun

Sitting in a cubicle all day can be extremely monotonous, especially if day-to-day work is dry or dense. In order to lighten the mood, companies can provide employees with time for fun. Something as simple as takeout and beer on a Friday afternoon, or turning the TV on during an important sporting event, can improve the atmosphere of a corporate setting.

Introducing a place in the office for downtime can also provide a quick fix. Giving employees a lounge where they can rest their eyes away from their computer screens, or even take a quick personal phone call, will allow workers to feel more comfortable in their work environments.

Make time for out of office events

Sometimes just meeting up for happy hour after work can make the next day better. By giving workers an opportunity to socialize, they will have the chance to get to know each other better. This can create friendships within the office, which strengthens the relationships and trust of coworkers. Taking employees out for a team building cooking class or other fun after-work activity may improve morale in the office.